A job fair can often be critical in securing internships and job offers. Unfortunately, most students underprepare for the event. The good news is that if you do prepare and execute you will stand out and be more successful. This is a guide to help you do just that.
You need to look at the event from three dimensions:
We will cover step #1 preparation in this blog and the next two blogs will cover ‘the day of’ and ‘follow-up’ respectively.
Your Intention/ Your Objective:
The recruiter is in the process of being inundated by hundreds or respective job or internship seekers. The ones that are clear, prepared and concise stick out. That is what I mean by intention. Stand out with your clarity but be flexible on how you get there. Walk into the room with intention and with clear objectives.
Be ready with what are YOU looking for:
Be flexible but have a plan.
If that information rolls fluidly, you will be perceived as being on the ball. Remember, that recruiter is in the process of sorting out who is going on their short list while they are being bombarded by literally hundreds during the job fair, and many hundreds from job fairs at other campuses they recruit from.
Be prepared with collateral both for the job fair and your online presence. If you have not done so, have it reviewed by someone in the career center or an academic advisor. Items like:
Your Elevator Pitch:
This is a short statement of who you are (30 seconds to two minutes). It must also convey what you are looking for. The key objective is for the campus recruiter to be compelled to want more time with you.
The average campus job fair has 60-100 companies depending on the size of the school. The fairs in the spring are smaller than the ones in the fall. There will be companies you are somewhat familiar with and others you have no idea what they do. Therefore, research is critical to maximize the event. Even if you think you know what they do, research will open a superior vantage point.
With ~100 companies represented, you want to be as deliberate as possible while working the event. From your research, have a short list of must see companies. The fact that you are creating priorities will help you to make choices before the fair. You might connect with a company that you did not have initial interest in from ‘bumping into them’ at the job fair, but this process gives you more focus (read: Advantage).